January 9, 2006
Livestock is one of the key economic activities among the farming families in the North East Province (NEP). It has high potential in increasing the living standard of internally displaced and poorest of the poor in the NEP.
The government of Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has taken step to commence a training program and follow-up support to increase the management capability of livestock farmers in the NEP and thereby to contribute for improving the living standard of poverty affected livestock farmers who are in the process of re-settling under the post-conflict reconstruction program. The chief executing agency of this training program is the Provincial Director of Animal Production and Health in NEP with the cooperation of the Department of Animal Production and Health.
Integrated livestock to crop production will have impact on efficient and productive utilization of land, family labor, agricultural by-products and crop residues, livestock residues as manure and animal draft power.It will ensure a regular additional income to the farmer. The reality at present is that majority of farming families are living under poverty line and consumption of animal protein including milk, meat and eggs by the people in NEP are much lower than minimum required level. Therefore the contribution for livestock development in NEP, will contribute significantly in poverty reduction and strengthening a means of livelihood of the people in the NEP.
In this scenario, an agreement was signed on 28th November, 2005 between JICA, the Department of Animal Production & Health, Provincial authorities in the NEP to implement above training program under the technical cooperation of JICA.
According to the agreement, JICA extends financial support and part of technical expertise to implement the training program for three years. The total estimated cost for three year period is almost Rs.15 Million. Duration of a course will be five working days per course and the number of training courses offered will be minimum one training course per month and not exceeding ten courses per year. A total number of training participants per course will be thirty who will be selected by the Veterinary Surgeons of respective divisions in the NEP. Followed by the training, most effective and useful equipment or most essential inputs for productive animal husbandry are also scheduled to be supplied by JICA as a component of JICA technical cooperation.
The First training course was commenced on 9th January 2006 at the Animal Husbandry Training Center, Seeppukulama in Anuradhapura on “Dairy Cattle and Buffalo Management”. Thirty participants selected from Kanthale, Morawewa and Muthur Veterinary Surgeon areas in Trincomalee attended the first training course.
It is expected that this training will be helpful to boost and enhancing the opportunities for livestock farmers in NEP to make the livestock farming a sustainable livelihood while assuring impacts on mitigating poverty, mal-nutrition, organic material generation for organic farming etc. in the region .